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New On-Farm Grain Storage

In my experience, fall is the time when the grain bin companies put out specials and offers to encourage farmers to book or buy new facilities for next year.

What are you seeing for local grin bin projects?  A local seller says the on-farm bins keep getting bigger and bigger.  30,000 and 40,000 bushel bins are much more the norm than the smaller ones of a decade ago.

I'm glad I built when I did, but my setup is woefully out of date for a modern system.  I have separate bins with drying floors and either ventilation or drying systems.  Each time I think about modifying or updating I think of the time, effort and money and how much longer I'll be famring.  Maybe next year.

Anyone adding any storage around you?

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4 Replies
Veteran Advisor

Re: New On-Farm Grain Storage

Here and there, the big boom was a couple years ago. As a rule the owner operators like bins on their land, and the big acre renters tend to buy more semis and hire another driver. I know one older guy, semi retired, who makes good money hauling. He turned his acres to alfalfa, but still owns two semis, and hauls to the elevator for 40 days or so during harvest. Parks one, hauls in the full, brings the empty one back, jumps in the full one. . . . I have a relative who works construction, and the last 12 to 18 months, he has had more work moving or removing bins than building new ones. There are lots of people hiring a Cat, and either lengthening a pivot, or putting up a new, longer one. The little corner the old yard sat on is now in the way, so the buildings are leveled, and the bin moved or removed.
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Senior Contributor

Re: New On-Farm Grain Storage

Seems like the rate at which new bins are going up has slowed in the parts of Ohio I travel. More and better storage still seems to be a high priority for a lot of farmers I talk to. Small and medium operations are the ones I'm most familiar with. Only people I hear from who don't want more on farm storage are the truckers and even some of them like it to help spread their work out through the year. Can also think of a couple farmers near retirement that have said the are not spending money on new storage.
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Honored Advisor

Re: New On-Farm Grain Storage

Out west we are gradually building more and replacing grain handling facilities that were getting very aged--area wide.  

My recent drive through iowa & Nebr say a lot of recently built large facilities.


Except for some personal needs for individuals, I would think we are going to have to slow down on building for a while and see if we can fill what we have.  At least in the areas I saw.  Drought Is still pretty prominant.


Looking at the older facilities in the west, we needed a few years of storage building.  A lot of the old concrete facilities are pretty "out of date", and have been for a long time.


The amount of grain piled on the ground and damaged over the last 20 years is a terrible waste.  I remember a few years ago, a coop in western ks had uncovered wheat, corn and milo on the ground at the same time and had damage on all three.  We have been used to abundance.  That may not be the case for a while, depending on the length of this drought cycle.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: New On-Farm Grain Storage

I've got 9 bins with over 100,000 bushels of storage.  Only one bin is less than 35 years old.  They are starting to require as much maintenance as they are worth.  I acquired a farm a couple years ago that needs to have all the power replaced due to a wind storm.  It's close to two elevators so I've pretty much abandoned the idea of putting money into the two bins that are on the property.  Most guys that are building bins are 100% sure that their kids will farm.  I'm not in that position so I'll get by with the bins I have.  Hiring a truck to pick up grain from the grain cart is looking better all the time.  I like the idea of having bins to use when the elevators close at night or on weekends but my back is reminding how it feels when I empty a bin.  I'm not the athlete I thought I once was.  The shovel doesn't feel the same it did 40 years ago.  Most bins were 30 foot with ten thousand bushels of capacity to sit on 160 acres.  The cost per bushel to build a 30 foot bin is just not worth it.  At that size it's cheaper to haul to the elevator.  Elevators in this area that dry with natural gas actually charge less to dry corn than I can dry it with lp.  I'm still curious why some guys are building extremely large drying facilities without owning very much ground.  They have a lot more confidence that they'll be the highest bidder on land for decades.  If they lose their leases those facilities could be purchased for a fraction of what it cost to build. 


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